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Consumers cutting back by buying generics

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Richard B. Levine/Newscom/File

(Read caption) Shrink-wrapped wedges of generic cheddar cheese are shown in a supermarket refrigerator case in 2006. Now, generics are catching on as consumers try to pare back spending.

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Americans are doing with a lot less these days and restaurant lunches, trips to the salon and magazine subscriptions are on the top of the chopping block. Buying generic products has also gained in popularity.

During the past six months, 62 percent of shoppers said they've been steering clear of name-brand items and snagging cheaper alternatives, according to market-research firm Harris Interactive, which surveyed more than 3,000 people in mid-October.

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It’s just one way Americans are trying to save money. Others cutbacks by Americans of all ages include:

  • Packing a lunch: 45 percent
  • Going to hairstylists or barbers less often: 37 percent
  • Using refillable water bottles: 37 percent
  • Canceling magazine subscriptions: 27 percent
  • Stopping cable TV service: 22 percent
  • Cutting back on dry cleaning: 21 percent
  • Axing newspaper subscriptions: 17 percent
  • Ending cell phone service: 17 percent
  • Carpooling: 14 percent

Perhaps as telling as any stat: Some 22 percent of respondents said they are avoiding buying a morning cup of coffee.